National Championships

Our National Championships will take place in just over a week. Preparation for shiai in our club usually begins about 4-6 weeks before. We continue to train in our usual way, which is a good mix of kihon and waza practice, with alot of jigeiko and ippon shobu. Coming up to a competition we add one class of shiai practice per week, and usually in the final week, we practice only our favorite waza, jigeiko and shiai practice.

For shiai practice, we focus first on the reigi. For both teams and individuals, I think that alot is said about your kendo by the way you enter the shiai-jo, bow to your opponent and take sonkyo. So we first practice this.

From there we ensure that all the beginners or members with little shiai experience get to practice Fighting and get used to the commands of the shinpan. This gives the Dan grades the opportunity to practice their shinpan skills, and commands.

In the last week we select teams. This is always a challenge, because someone will always feel left out. We try to balance it, but my belief is that you should enter at least two strong teams into a competition. You are there to compete after all! Normally it is the people that have made the most efforts in the past year that get the chance to be on the "best" teams. Be it a perfect attendance record, or a big improvement in their kendo, we try to give people a chance. This also ensures that the people dont get complacent!

For me Shiai is important, as I think it gives the club something to be proud of! Bragging rights for a year are also very important. This year my aim is to help my team more. For the last 3 large shiai I have been in, I have lost matches in the semi finals and finals, leaving the taisho a hard job in his matches. This has come about through both lack of experience, and I think using too much energy early in the fight. I will try my best to keep my composure while putting pressure on my opponent, keeping the tempo high but without running out of steam.

Last year, we lost out to our rivals, so this year we have to make sure we do our best, show our club spirit, have a good time, and win with good kendo!!